Project report: Insan-Leilek, Kyrgyzstan

Grantee: Insan-Leilek, Kyrgyzstan
Project: Protecting the Labour Rights of Vulnerable Migrant Women

According to the National Statistics Committee of Kyrgyzstan, more than a million Kyrgyz citizens are in Russia as labour migrants. More than 40% of them are women. Most of the migrant women are employed in the service sector, such as cleaning, housekeeping, nursing, babysitting, delivery, etc. Unfortunately, more than 70% of migrants` jobs are not documented (migrants are employed without any official agreement). The predominance of informal (illegal) employment among migrant workers in Russia rests on the lack of interest of both sides in legal registration, with both workers and employers remaining “invisible” to the regulatory authorities. 

That is exactly what makes migrant women most vulnerable to violation of labour rights as well as harassment, abuse (including sexual) and discrimination. This especially increased due to the COVID 19 pandemic, when migrants massively started to lose their jobs and stay at home. 

Other than labour violations, the pandemic and its related restrictions and quarantine caused an unprecedented increase of gender abuse at work and at home. According to a survey by Insan-Leilek, abused women face a high level of stress and depression. Almost 95% of migrant women reported being harassed, discriminated against or sexually assaulted at work or at home, and/or being victims of regular abuse. In some cases, women demonstrated low levels of awareness of harassment and gender-based violence.  

Insan-Leilek conducting training on gender based violence at Kyrgyzstan-Ural diaspora in Ekaterinburg

To tackle the issue of migrant women, Insan-Leilek, in partnership with the diaspora organisation Kyrgyzstan Ural and with the support of the BEARR Trust’s grant, organised a broad information campaign to prevent gender-based violence and harassment against vulnerable migrant women and women working in the informal sector among one of the biggest Kyrgyz migrant communities in Russia – in Ekaterinburg. As part of this campaign more than 40 activist migrant women in Ekaterinburg learned about gender-based violence, abuse, and harassment in the workplace, the profile of abusers, and the prevention of gender-based violence. These activist women created a self-help group that provides overall support to the victims of abuse and harassment and continues to raise their awareness. 

This project for the first time made psychological assistance available to migrant women in Ekaterinburg. 35 vulnerable women in difficult life situations (victims of abuse, domestic violence, discrimination, sexual assault, harassment) received psychological support free of charge over the course of the project. In addition, other types of support were provided for these women depending on their needs (legal consultations, shelter, humanitarian assistance, medical assistance, etc.). One case of domestic abuse was brought to court by an Insan-Leilek lawyer in Ekaterinburg. 

Psychological assistance for migrant women in Ekaterinburg

Insan-Leilek is one of the leading organisations in Kyrgyzstan working with migrants and their families using a multispectral approach, starting from direct support (judicial, psychological, informational, consultation, humanitarian assistance) as well as advocacy on migrants’ issues at the country and international level, promoting safe migration in Central Asia. On a regular basis, Insan-Leilek organises migration classes, pre-departure orientation, free judicial consultation for migrants and assistance in cases of violation of labour rights in close cooperation with diaspora organisations in Russia.  

Organisation contact details:
Telephone: 0773 00 37 79  

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